One of the most important business skills is confidence. Think about the great leaders of our times and the Dragons in the Den – a common personality trait that they all share, without exception, is confidence.
As a business founder, your personal confidence will directly correlate with your business success. People buy from people, and if you don’t appear confident, whether it is in yourself, your product or business, then it will affect your business’ performance. Why should people be confident in buying from you, if you don’t appear confident selling?
Some people seem to be innately confident, but for the vast majority, it’s a learned skill and it can always be improved. As a business leader, it’s a skill you can’t live without; otherwise you’ll become victim to the people you’re with or the situation you’re with.
Here are some top tips to get your started in improving your confidence in business:
- Understanding that confidence is a frame of mind: There a fundamental difference between self-esteem and confidence. Confidence is what we project and what we want others to see – it’s a frame of mind.
- Identify the triggers: Recognise what situations or types of people make you feel least confident. Take time to rationally analyse what exactly triggered these feelings. Try and understand that you shouldn’t let others put value on you – we can each personally determine our own identity. You cannot perform in a role, at a consistent level, greater than you think of yourself conceptually. You are ultimately in control and can make the choice about whether you want to project an image of confidence.
- Positive thinking: We can easily get trapped into a vicious cycle of negative thinking – we assume that the person we are meeting is thinking badly of us, we mentally prepare for the worst-case scenario in any given situation. The problem with this approach is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Turn that frown upside down and go in with positivity, imagine the best outcome – happiness and positivity are infectious; prospects will be much more likely to buy from someone with a positive frame of mind.
- Preparation is key: For many, the types of situations that usually negatively impact confidence are meetings and presentations. A way that confidence in these situations can be hugely improved is through enhanced preparation and time management. Take time beforehand to outline meeting objectives, what you want to convey and how the time will be spent – this removes the ‘unexpected,’ and ultimately the fear, which fuels lack of confidence. Colleagues and prospects alike respond well to agendas so feel free to take control and share one beforehand – it will also help you stay on track whilst in the meeting.
- Practice makes perfect: Whether it be in front of a mirror, or role-playing with a colleague, practicing a scenario that usually makes you feel unconfident is a great way to help you see how easily you can change your mindset. Often, the fear of a person or situation can make us act in a certain way – by facing it and practicing it, you are actively facing that worry and breaking down the barriers.
- Develop assertiveness techniques: Part of being confident is being believable, authoritative, and communicating well. This doesn’t mean going over the top by being disingenuous, argumentative and monopolising conversations. It can be achieved through assertiveness techniques, moving from a passive position to contributing equally to a conversation and clearly articulating your viewpoint. When we feel unconfident, we ignore social cues to contribute; embrace these moments to add to the conversation and believe that your input is valid – the more you do it the easier it will become.
Confidence itself may not feel like a tangible concept – but once it’s improved, be under no illusion as to the tangible results you’ll get in the way of business success and enhanced sales. And as an added incentive, it comes with personal benefits to boot, namely enjoying work and the relationships more with a better frame of mind. So, repeat after me “confidence is a frame of mind…”
Wirral Chamber members are invited to a free workshop
Upcoming events include :
Why sales people fail & what to do about it, Wednesday 15 July, 10:00 – 11.30am
How to break the rules & close more sales, Wednesday 29 July, 10:00 – 11.30am
Sandler Training - Merseyside | 0151 909 1881 | www.merseyside.sandler.com